The BMW X3 is a popular choice when it comes to drivers wanting rugged off-road looks with a greater sporting presence, and when the new 3rd-generation X3 hits the forecourts in November this year, it will be looking to build on its reputation as one of the most dynamically competent and technologically advanced SUVs in its class.
And as the new model brings with it a new 2.0-litre petrol engine alongside the familiar diesel offering, plus a new performance flagship, - the M40i – who can even start to doubt that that ambition will be reached?
Pretty much staying the same sizewise, the new BMW X3 does feature, for the first time a hexagonal design to the chunky three-dimensional kidney grille and LED fog lamps at the front, as well as three-dimensional LED light clusters, downward-sloping roof spoiler and twin exhaust pipes at the rear.
More changes come when individualising the three available trim variants.
The SE model features LED Headlights and taillights as standard, along with aluminium satinated roof rails and a new 18-inch wheel.
The xLine model gets a satin/aluminium radiator grille, more rugged front and rear bumpers with silver metallic side sills along with 19" xLine specific wheels.
And the more sporty M Sport model is more focused on dynamism with M aerodynamic features, optional blue-painted brake callipers, a more dramatic 19" wheel design and an optional exterior paint shade of Phytonic Blue. Within the M Sport model we also find the new M40i which features a unique M Performance exterior design with Cerium Grey kidney frames, front and rear bumper inserts, mirror caps, window graphics, air breather, elongated rear tailpipes and optional 21" wheels.
Inside, ergonomics mixes with driver focus with hexagonal forms, quality materials and precise, bevelled edges the name of the day.
The BMW X logo appears throughout, subtly embossed and proudly featured in different forms, with each trim level once again taking "a specific approach to the look and feel of the interior."
The SE features Vernasca leather seats as standard, high gloss interior trim with pearl chrome highlights, sport steering wheel and interior ambient lighting in six colour tones - Orange, Lilac, Mint, Bronze, Blue and White. The car also features standard Business Navigation and Park Assist (including a rear parking camera).
The xLine adds in sports seats finished in Vernasca leather, while the M Sport gets a bespoke leather steering wheel, M-specific sports seats, anthracite-coloured BMW Individual headlining and new interior trim strips in Aluminium Rhombicle, along with the BMW Professional Navigation system with new 10.3" screen - all as standard.
Comfort and practicality also come as standard throughout, starting with the all-new X3's three-zone automatic climate control as standard, adding separate temperature controls for the rear compartment to those for the driver and front passenger.
Passengers also find that their comfort has been enhanced further with individually adjustable 40:20:40 split/folding rear seat backrests and optional perforated leather climate seats.
Another option is a generously sized panoramic glass roof, while acoustic windscreen glazing contributes to extremely low noise levels in the cabin.
The new BMW X3 can be locked and unlocked using the optional BMW Display Key found on the BMW 5 Series and 7 Series, a feature with lots of additions such as fuel level and maintenance requirement information as well as telling the driver if windows or the sunroof is open or closed.
BMW is renowned for producing cars that handle beautifully, and the ideally-weighted new BMW X3 with its finely honed chassis and xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive, is no different.
The standard Driving Experience Control switch lets the driver choose between various configurations – ECO PRO, COMFORT, SPORT and SPORT+ modes (only on the 30i, 30d and M40i) – to give them a more dynamic, more comfortable or more efficient drive.
Changes to the chassis technology maintains the X3 winning formula of a double-joint spring strut axle at the front and a five-link rear axle, delivering an even sportier driving experience than its predecessor without compromising on ride comfort.
The rear bias of BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system has been increased, with the intelligent AWD management allowing adjustments to be made as the driving situation demands, while still maintaining maximum traction.
The M Sport sports suspension is available as an option on other models, its' firmer suspension and damping beefing up the anti-roll bars and offering Dynamic Damper Control with electronically controlled dampers.
In basic specification, the new X3 has 18" light-alloy wheels, while wheels up to 21"in diameter are available depending on the specification and engine variant; and Variable sport steering is standard on the BMW X3 M40i and xDrive 30d, and can be specified as an option on the two litre diesel and petrol.
From launch, the X3 model line-up consists of the xDrive20d with four-cylinder diesel engine and the xDrive30d with a straight-six diesel units. These will soon be followed by the xDrive20i engine variant, and the range-topping petrol model, the BMW X3 M40i.
All engine variants are equipped with an eight-speed Steptronic transmission, matched to the power unit’s specific performance characteristics.
All available models come with BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive as standard, and all boast a class-leading drag coefficient of Cd = 0.29, reducing aerodynamic drag to help reduce noise levels and lower fuel consumption.
The new BMW X3 features the very latest in intuitive controls and driver assistance systems, including: